Geopolitik Energi

April 12, 2007


A Breakthrough in the South China Sea Dispute?

Rising global energy prices represent one factor that has contributed to a potential breakthrough in Southeast Asia’s most complex and hitherto tense set of territorial disputes – the South China Sea dispute. Developments over the past 12 months suggest that, for the first time ever, the political will may exist to set aside overlapping sovereignty claims and pursue joint exploration with a view to conducting joint exploitation of seabed resources further down the line. The new initiatives have been spearheaded by the Philippines and China, two countries for whom energy security has become a pressing concern. More than 60 percent of China’s crude oil is imported from countries in the Middle East. The PRC is keen to lessen its dependence on Middle Eastern oil both because of political instability in the area and US military preponderance. Moreover, Chinese oil imports from the Middle East (as well as Africa) have to pass through the Malacca or Lombok Straits, the narrow body of water separating Indonesia and Malaysia. For Beijing, this represents a strategic vulnerability because China’s navy is not nearly strong enough to protect the SLOCs that pass through the strait – a vulnerability dubbed by the Chinese media the “Malacca dilemma”.42 Chinese strategic analysts worry that in the event of heightened tensions or conflict, say over Taiwan, countries that possess stronger naval forces would be able to disrupt oil flows to the PRC. This would have a negative impact not only on China’s war-fighting capabilities, but also on the country’s continued economic growth on which the survival of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) depends. In order to enhance its energy security, the PRC is diversifying the sources of its oil imports, is building a strategic oil reserve, and plans to increase nuclear and renewable energy power generation. Southeast Asia is one region that China has identified as an important source of energy resources. For the Philippines, rising oil prices are exacerbating the country’s dire economic situation, particularly its ballooning national debt. The concern is so acute that in August 2005, Philippine National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales declared that the spiraling cost of crude oil posed a national security threat.43 However, as with the Ambalat dispute, it is important to note that factors other than energy security are also at work, particularly political factors. Recent developments in the South China Sea dispute are partly a result of China’s “smile diplomacy”, a campaign aimed at reassuring the ten countries that make up ASEAN that China’s rise is peaceful and beneficial to all its neighbors.44 During the 1990s, China’s behavior in the South China Sea was seen as a litmus test of how a powerful China may act toward its neighbors in the future. By pursuing cooperative ventures in the South China Sea, Beijing hopes to underline its “peaceful rise” thesis.


  1. Bung,

    Bagus euy blognya…
    Kebetulan saya juga tertarik dengan isu-isu hubungan internasional dan internasional politik.
    Coba dong, ulas teori politik internasional punya Kenneth Waltz

    Comment by sholi — August 31, 2007 @ 10:22 am | Reply

  2. bagus…tpi bahasa inggrisnya itu loh,, pegel bacanya!!

    Comment by indah — April 16, 2008 @ 6:08 am | Reply

  3. fuck bgt malaysia

    Comment by wahyi — March 19, 2009 @ 8:05 am | Reply

  4. Outstanding article!! Will come back soon.

    Comment by DescuemDerb — May 20, 2009 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  5. Hancurkan malaysia, fuck jöngos britis.

    Comment by Merah putih — June 4, 2009 @ 5:18 am | Reply

  6. Sdh taon 2009, Malay’sin’ masih aj nyolek2 Ambalat,Ooi..INA tegaz dong… Gayang Malaysia…:-(

    Comment by Nieki — June 4, 2009 @ 10:26 am | Reply

  7. malaysialan anjiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinggnnngggg

    Comment by cata — June 13, 2009 @ 7:58 am | Reply

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